The First Annual Soka BluePort Jazz Festival – 2011
Every once in a while, a confluence of events occur that somehow permit you to be in the right place, at the right time. When such serendipitous events take place, you’re forced to realize just how lucky you really are! Such a series of events unfolded at the end of October that allowed me to attend, photograph, and report on the first Soka/Blueport Jazz Festival. Though I have visited the captivating Soka University campus on a number of previous occasions, some for the expressed purpose of covering a live jazz event, there is no way I could have been prepared for either the sonic splendor or the sheer musical spectacle that was about to unfold before me in this germinal Music Festival. See my whole report at Positive Feedback
All images taken by Greg Weaver using handheld Nikon gear with no tripods.
The Geoffrey Keezer-Peter Sprague Band
Trio da Paz
Duduka da Fonseca
Romero, Maucha, and Nilson
Trio da Paz with Maucha Adnet
Bert Turetzky with Chuck Perren
Mike Garson and Tierney Sutton
Mike, Tierney, and Kornel.
Bows at the end of the set
The Charles McPherson Quintet.
Charles with Gil
Trio da Paz.
Anat Cohen – Clarinet
Anat Cohen – Tenor
The Ron Escheté Trio.
Ron Escheté – playing a seven string guitar
More Ron Escheté.
Todd Johnson – on a six string bass.
Mike and Tierney
The Garson Sextet swingin’
From Studio Apprentice…
to High School PHOTOGRAPHY Teacher…
to NATIONAL Award Winner
When I was 11, I “apprenticed” to a local studio owned and operated by Fred Bonadio. There, I learned to work in numerous medium and large formats (6X6 cm, 6X7 cm, 4X5 in. and 8X10 in.), and used primarily several Graflex Speed Graphic 4 x 5 sheet film cameras. In those days, flash photography was achieved by using bulbs of different strengths, which were identified by a red, yellow and blue dot. Oh, don’t forget to lick the contacts before you insert them into the flash head!
As a sophomore in high school, I was recruited part-time to cover city, social, and sporting events for the local newspaper, The Punxsutawney Spirit. I also submitted my own spot news and creative photos. By that time, I was responsible for all my own film processing and printing, as well as providing most all the lab work for the rest of the photo staff. Upon graduation from high school, I was hired to take over all the staff operations.
During this time, I shot all Records and Identification photos for the Pennsylvania State Police, Troop C. This involved rapid response time and crucial site documentation of homicides, suicides, arson, domestic violence, single and multiple vehicle accidents, medical emergencies, etc. While fascinating, it could be morbid.
As an example, while sitting in the office one hot and lazy summer day in 1974, a call came over my scanner indicating that there was a brush fire in nearby Sabula. With absolutely nothing else going on, I jumped into the company van and rushed to the scene. When I arrived, I found the local fire company wearing back pack water tanks and rushing through the brush to extinguish the flames. I ran just ahead of them, in a effort capture just the “right” lighting and composition. Hitting the end of a roll in my Nikon F with a 4-frame-per-second motor drive (5 if I was willing to lock up the mirror!), I dropped to one knee to balance the camera while changing film.
Just after passing me, one firefighter cried out briefly, then immediately fell silent to the ground. Reloaded and firing, I was shooting as a second firefighter, the first to rush to attempt to assist his comrade, fell just as he reached the first fallen man. This time we all noticed a loud crackling noise, just as the second firefighter fell to the ground.
The commander ordered everyone to stop in their tracks. As his eyes swept back and forth across the landscape, they slowly came to rest on a nearby electric pole. Fixing on where the commander was looking, I quickly spotted the problem. One of the insulators atop the pole had been shot off, probably by a hunter or teen passing idle time, allowing the high tension electric line to fall to the ground, spewing its deadly current to ground and dry grass. Besides having obviously started the fire, it had also electrocuted the two men who inadvertently stepped on it. All of my photos were considered evidence in the hearings the followed. The sights, sounds, smells, and consequences of the event have never left me.
After a few years off to go to school, I was recruited to take over all responsibilities of a three county daily newspaper photo staff. I routinely worked closely with government, civic and industry leaders and was responsible for all spot news, civic, social and political events, and sports. I was also counted on to produce regular feature work as well. It was during this time that I received the National Press Photographers Association Photographer of the Month award, at age 19, for spot news coverage of an 8 story Hotel fire which claimed 2 lives.
During this time, I started working as a stringer for the Associated Press, providing spot news and sports coverage, including covering President Jerry Ford and other political candidates. I routinely covered the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Pittsburgh Panthers, and the Penn State Nittnay Lions games, as well as all the local high school sports and tournaments. I covered all forms of natural disasters such as hurricanes, tornadoes, and fires, as well as catastrophes including aircraft (the FAA suffered a DC-10 crash during an airport dedication), train, and automotive accidents, as well as industrial, commercial, and residential fires and explosions. I covered Formula One Grand Prix, Stock Car, Drag and Horse racing events, and soon came to be recognized for my outstanding sports photography. And, if you had occasion to see a syndicated news service photo of “Punxsutawney Phil,” the groundhog who annually makes his weather prognostications from “Gobblers Knob” in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania during the mid nineteen seventies or early nineteen eighties, you’ve seen my work.
It was at this time that I got into specialized high speed and low to non-existent light photos of the glass manufacturing process for corporate annual reports and developmental procedures for Brockway Glass, then the second largest glass manufacturer in the world. I have photographed countless weddings and model portfolios, and came to specialize in “close-up” photography, with many images used on theme calendars and in magazines.
My love of music was clear even then, as I photographed many bands and concerts in both in-door and out-door venues. My knowledge of push processing proved indispensable to this end, allowing my work to appear on album covers, magazines and in the news media. I even got a letter from Anna-Lou “Annie” Leibovitz of Rolling Stone Magazine about my concert work.
I have been called upon by numerous agencies to provide videography (Bennetton Fashion in particular) and have provided spot news footage for local television networks. During this time, I taught all aspects of photography, from history, theory, and applications, to hands-on shooting and processing at a private high school in central Pennsylvania for two years.
It was a great time, one that netted me many blue ribbons from shows, several album jacket photos, magazine covers, and a national award. I still love photography, but with the pressing responsibilities of my family, my day job as in IT Engineer at the University of Notre Dame, and my audio fetish, something had to take a back seat. Oh well, maybe after I retire! ;-D
Blue Ribbon winner, DuBois High School Basketball Playoff, circa 1975
My vintage “Blue Max.” Though it was minted after
WWII, it was created from the original die’s, Circa 1975
Little Girl on Slide, circa 1979
My sister Bobbi and I walked from Ground Zero across the Brooklyn Bridge (May, 2002)
A view of the Brooklyn Bridge from Pearl St., heading toward the South Street Seaport (May 2007)
Fr. Myers Beach, Florida, immediately after Katrina had stormed through (August, 2005)
Bocce in Washington Square Park, near the campus of New York University (May 2007)
For a Fall Fashion edition, circa 1975
Graduation portrait, circa 2007
The base of the Wall Fountain in Trump Tower, 6th Avenue, New York City (May 2007)
Starry Night, probably Vincent Van Gogh’s most famous painting, was painted while he was in an Asylum at Saint-Remy in 1889, Metropolitan Museum of Art (May 2007)
The unscathed Trinity Church right at ground zero (June, 2002)
Looking up at the skylight of the Guggenheim Museum (May 2007)
The Metropolitan Opera House at Lincoln Center (May 2007)
Industrial work for Brockway Glass, circa 1977
Only One Way, circa 1976
Flowing water, contest winner, circa 1977
My sister’s home in Armonk (June 2002)
Hard Rock Hotel, Times Square, New York City (May 2007)
The Village Vanguard, on Perry Street and 7th Ave (May 2007)
For a Fall Fashion Edition, circa 1976.
The Sphinx of Hapshetsut, 1479 BC, Metroplitan Museum of Art (May 2007)
Ships in the East River, with the Statue of Liberty to the right (June, 2002)
Belvedere Castle in Central Park (May 2007)
“The Spirit of Pigcinnati,” by Patricia Renick – Cincinnati/Kentucky Airport (Jan 8, 2007)